Rushville Republican

News

March 1, 2013

Soil productivity law signed

Prevents $57 million tax increase on Hoosier farmers

RUSHVILLE — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence recently signed Senate Enrolled Act 319, a measure authored by State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) to prevent a $57 million tax increase on Indiana farmers.

SEA 319 takes effect today, March 1.

It delays, for an additional year, the implementation of new soil productivity factors proposed by the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF). That means the soil productivity factors used for the March 1, 2011 assessment date will be used again for the March 1, 2013 assessment date.

SEA 319 additionally requires the DLGF, with the Purdue University College of Agriculture, to submit a report on proposed soil productivity factors to the General Assembly for consideration by Nov. 1, 2013.

“I’m very pleased to have the governor’s support of this bill,” Leising said. “That says a lot about the importance of farmers and agriculture to Indiana’s economy. We want to help those families and the industry. I think protecting them from a 25-percent average increase in property taxes is a good way to do that.”

SEA 319 was the first piece of legislation to be signed into law during the 2013 session and the first to ever be signed by Pence.

The bill prevents an estimated $57 million property tax increase on Hoosier farmers by delaying the use of new soil productivity factors in farmland assessment until the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) and the Purdue University College of Agriculture complete a study on the process.

The legislation, sponsored by Leising, passed unanimously in both the Indiana House and Senate.

In recent years, the DLGF requested and received new soil productivity factors from the United States Department of Agriculture. The proposed new soil productivity factors used for farmland assessment in Indiana could have caused an estimated 25 percent average increase in property tax payments for Indiana’s farmers, dependent on the county in which they live.

“Indiana is agriculture, and Lt. Gov. Ellspermann and I appreciate the General Assembly’s bipartisan effort to quickly pass this critical piece of legislation to help Hoosier farmers,” said Pence. “It was a privilege for us to provide tax relief for family farmers in the very first bill we signed into law.”

- Rushville Republican

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